For Venice I found an old book, published 50 years ago by an Englishman who lived there for a while and wrote a mildly eccentric book about the place. James Morris, Venice. It was lots of fun. A bit dated, true, but all the important parts of the story happened long ago anyway, and the last 50 years haven't added anything of significance and for the updated part I had those guide books.
So far so fine. Being a professional navel-gazer, I couldn't help but noticing the (very few) parts of the plot that deal with... us, of course. So how's this:
In Venice you can enjoy the pleasures of the Orient without suffering its torments. Flies are few, mosquitoes are decreasing, beggars are unpersistent, water is wholesome, nationalism is restrained, nobody is going to knife you, or talk about Zionism, or blame you for Kashmir.... (p.196)1960, I remind you. There were no illegal Jewish settlements upsetting American presidents back in 1960. Osama B. was three years old. Why, even Arafat hadn't invented the PLO yet. Englishmen in the "Orient", however, were being blamed for Zionism and Kashmir. Then and now.